Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter meeting roundup: McGwire has integrity

Here's what happened with the Rule 5 draft today. Luis Perdomo was taken during round 5 by the San Francisco Giants.
The righthanded reliever the St. Louis Cardinals received in the Anthony Reyes trade with Cleveland was selected in the Rule 5 draft this morning by the San Francisco Giants. Luis Perdomo will be added to the Giants’ 40-man roster and taken to spring training where he will have the opportunity to make the major-league 25-man roster. He must be on that roster all season or be offered back to the Cardinals before he can be sent to the minors.

Perdomo was a likely loss after the Cardinals elected not to protect him from the draft by putting him on their 40-man roster. The players the Cardinals did protect were SS Tyler Greene and RHP Matt Scherer.
Adam Kennedy and Colby Rasmus are back in favor with Tony La Russa.
Kennedy "just wants to play," La Russa said. "I think it was a mutual respect thing. I thought he handled himself really well the times he didn't play. He ended up on a plus note."

For Rasmus, La Russa heaped on the praise.

"This guy has a chance to be an impact, everyday outfielder," La Russa said. "He has a chance to be a very special package."

After several offseasons of stumping for a cleanup hitter — a request he echoed toward the end of this past season — La Russa acknowledged that the priority right now should be pitching. He's content with the lineup that's in place since the addition of shortstop Khalil Greene. Yes, he plans to hit the pitcher eighth again in 2009, but Greene hitting in the No. 6 spot or lower has the potential to add run-producing depth to the lineup, La Russa said.

He added that outfielder Chris Duncan is "feeling great" as he recovers from surgery to repair a herniated disc and that Duncan shouldn't be slowed at all entering spring training. The manager said Duncan will be ready for the throng of outfielders the Cardinals have vying for jobs, citing five besides Duncan: Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick and Skip Schumaker — the incumbent starters — and rookies Joe Mather and Rasmus.

Inviting Kennedy back into the flock is as simple as assuring him playing time. Kennedy has told the Post-Dispatch he is warm to a return to the Cardinals if he has a legitimate shot at starting. La Russa said he hasn't reached out to Kennedy personally.
Tony also said that Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame. With his numbers, he most certainly does.
Given the chance to celebrate and comment on Rickey Henderson’s appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa also seized the opportunity to stump for another dynamo member of his Oakland Athletics teams who will be on the ballot.

On his third try, Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame, La Russa believes.

It’s a matter a of “integrity.”

“This steroid issue, that’s a matter of integrity, right?” La Russa said. “That’s one way to describe it, right? Well, it occurred to me, I know that I’ve never spoken much about it at all, but this guy did something that screams integrity. … How many guys do we know that had a contract like he had? He had a contract in his hand for $15 million over two years, and he walked away from it because he didn’t feel like he could play to that level. That, to me, there’s a certain integrity for the sport, for self-respect and everything.”[...]

La Russa: Now, our guess, and people that I’ve talked to, our guess is that a whole lot of guys, just being normal, would be figured some way to either talk to the organization, like let’s get a buyout, give me $5 million instead of $30 million, whatever it is, or go ahead and play less than their best and collect a check for two years. He walked away from two years of $30 million, and I thought to myself when I told this one writer, ‘Man, I think that speaks to the public or the voters about his integrity.’

You’ve got to be a pretty solid character guy … Am I reading that wrong? Do you think that’s a good sign of character, that you would walk away from $30 million if you didn’t think you could play to that level? How would you take that decision and not make sense of it.

Reporter. I’m not sure that you’re comparing apples to apples.

La Russa: So how would you describe a guy that walks away from $30 million?

Reporter. I’m agreeing with you that that’s a sign of character, not to have a debate that’s going to be transcribed here. This isn’t the place. I would agree that that’s a sign of integrity. But I think we all do things that show integrity in one side of our life and make questionable moves on another parallel track.

La Russa: I’m just saying that the fact that he walked away from that money has been an under-discussed, under-publicized — I know I have not discussed it, and I think that is a hellacious sign of the type of person he is, and that should translate into knowing that he’s a special guy. I just never talked about it. I thought I had the chance so I’d mention it.

Reporter. So you’d consider it as an intangible for his Hall of Fame?

La Russa: Yeah, he’s got this cloud over him.

Reporter. Character is an issue (on the ballot).

La Russa: So I think that showed great character because there’s not many guys that I know that wouldn’t have said, ‘I’ll just stumble along and take those checks.’

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Cards complete their deal for Trever Miller:
A deal delayed is now a deal done as the Cardinals completed the signing of lefty reliever Trever Miller today to a one-year deal

The physical Miller had several weeks ago with the Cardinals revealed what the team doctor believes is a tear in the labrum in his left shoulder. Having discovered the injury -- which hasn't caused Miller any soreness or limited any of his offseason workouts -- the Cardinals renegotiated the deal from the original two-year offer.

Miller, 35, agreed to a one-year that will pay him $2 million if he reaches all of the appearance-based incentives. His original deal, he said, was worth two years and a total of $4 million.

"It was a unique experience," Miller said of the delay between his physical and finalizing a deal. "We went from a high to a little bit of a low. ... We had to go back to the drawing board."
Dave Duncan spoke about Carp and Izzy.
Duncan believes Chris Carpenter should come back as a starting pitcher, not a reliever, if he can overcome his assorted medical issues. Given the lingering uncertainty about Carpenter’s return, however, Duncan is pondering his alternatives.[...]

The Cards must add an established closer. If Mozeliak can’t land one, Duncan would be open to giving Jason Isringhausen another look in that role in the spring.

“If he does everything he has to do to recover from the injuries he had and he wants to give it a shot, I’d vote 'yes' to giving him a shot,” Duncan said. “I know he’s interested in trying to continue pitching.”

But Izzy would have to prove himself in that closing role -– and accept pitching in other roles if he doesn’t win the job.
Russ Springer is unlikely to return to the Cardinals next season.
Citing a need to maintain roster flexibility and a crush of returning righthanded relievers, general manager John Mozeliak thought the risk of Springer being awarded a big contract in arbitration was not worth the reward — two premium draft picks — the club would have received had Springer turned down arbitration and signed elsewhere.

Last season, Springer compiled a 2.32 ERA and allowed 57 baserunners in 50 1/3 innings spread over 70 appearances.[...]

In addition to Springer, the Cardinals declined to offer arbitration to starting pitchers Braden Looper and Mark Mulder; relievers Ron Villone and Jason Isringhausen; infielders Felipe Lopez and Cesar Izturis; and outfielder Juan Encarnacion.
Jose Oquendo a secret weapon? Not so much, they say.
For six months every season at Busch Stadium, Oquendo is universally seen as Whitey Herzog's one-time "Secret Weapon" and Tony La Russa's current Cardinals third-base coach. Oquendo does his job, teaching as well as serving as traffic cop, with the rarest displays of disgust.

But it is different here.

Oquendo runs a clubhouse full of Class A and AA players along with a heavy dose of Independent League talent looking to catch on somewhere. Once a place where native major league players routinely appeared, the Puerto Rican Winter League has assumed a more developmental flavor as costs were slashed after last year's shutdown. A top talent such as Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina would receive $12,000 a month. (Molina has so far politely declined Oquendo's invite for a three-game-a-week routine.)

There is no team charter; players must drive themselves to games across the island. Carolina's roster includes only two pitchers who worked mostly at Triple-A last season, including Cardinals prospect P.J. Walters. Catcher Bryan Anderson is also among the mix.[...]

"It would be a real big deal," Oquendo says. "We have (managers from) the Dominican, Cuba, Venezuela. Well, how long has Puerto Rico been involved in the major leagues? And we haven't had one. I know Joey wants to do it. Myself, (Jose) Cruz, Sandy Alomar Sr. ... we've got more candidates now."

Oquendo, 45, says he remains patient.

"It's not in my nature to scream and yell, 'Why not me?'" Oquendo says. "My nature is to take it a step at a time. If the door opens, so be it. If not, I love what I'm doing. I don't think (being repeatedly passed over) would stop me from doing interviews. If you keep interviewing, you don't know what might happen."

Oquendo enjoys his role with the Cardinals, where he is considered a master defensive instructor and believes he now might have momentum for a managerial job. He has lost 20 pounds since the Cardinals' season ended, which helps his high blood pressure.

"Somebody has to be putting my name out there," he says. "If nobody was asking me to interview, then I'd be worried, because then nobody would be wanting me. I'd rather interview, get more comfortable in the process, hear what they have to say and handle the questions they ask. San Diego and Seattle had different sets of questions."

The Mariners sought someone who could calm an uneasy clubhouse. Former MVP right fielder Ichiro Suzuki represents to Seattle what Albert Pujols means to St. Louis.

"They were more worried about how to handle problems in the clubhouse. Both want to know how you handle superstars. I think Albert gives me good experience, " Oquendo said wryly. "How do you handle situations, not necessarily on the field, but situations in the clubhouse and the media? I don't think I would have a problem with any of that."

Oquendo, part of La Russa's staff for 10 seasons, skirts the possibility of eventually managing the Cardinals. La Russa's contract expires after next season and the inevitable questions soon will sprout about his future.

Asked if he ever has broached the topic to his boss, Oquendo says, "That's stuff I don't get into."

Oquendo dismisses any suggestion his style would be a Herzog-La Russa (or should it be La Russa-Herzog?) hybrid.

"Each of them had their own way of handling players and handling situations in the game," Oquendo says. "But it's not fair for me to draw so much from Whitey because I was a player then. As a player you view the game a lot differently than when you're a coach. I played for Joe Torre also. He was different than Whitey and Tony. But Torre came to us in a different situation. He didn't have the players that Whitey had early in the 80s. He had the players that were the reason Whitey quit."[...]

Pressed on the possibility of succeeding La Russa, Oquendo relents. "If something happened, it would be a nice place to manage," he says. "But at the same time, I hope Tony stays forever."
How small is the Hall of Fame ballot?
The smallest ballot in the history of Baseball Hall of Fame voting was announced on Monday, with only 23 names listed on it. One of those names, first-time candidate Rickey Henderson, seems certain to be elected given his career accomplishments, and if history is a legitimate guide, former Boston star Jim Rice also will be enshrined next July in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Here's the ballot and I'm bolding who I would vote for:
The ballot: Harold Baines, Jay Bell, Bert Blyleven, David Cone, Andre Dawson, Ron Gant, Mark Grace, Rickey Henderson, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Jesse Orosco, Dave Parker, Dan Plesac, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Greg Vaughn, Mo Vaughn, Matt Williams.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My CBA Award selections

It's that time of year again. I love how I just posted this to my other blog.

1) Player of the Year: Albert Pujols

There's no mistaking that the 2008 MVP is our player of the year.

2) Pitcher of the Year: Kyle Lohse

Lohse surprised us all this year. I'm actually glad that we extended his tenure with us. Dave Duncan does his magic as usual.

3) Game of the Year: September 9 vs. Chicago

I'm going with this one because it was one of the few that I was able to catch this season.

4) Surprise Player of the Year: Ryan Ludwick

No doubt.

5) Disappointing Player of the Year: Jason Isringhausen

He lost the role again...I think Joe Buck was examining his psyche after SLU gave him his honorary doctorate.

6) Cardinal Rookie of the Year: Joe Mather

7) New Cardinal of the Year: Kyle Lohse

8) Most Anticipated Cardinal: Colby Rasmus

Rasmus is still the most anticipated.

9) Best Individual Blog

I didn't do a good job at keeping up with the Cards blogs this season as much as I should have so I abstain.

10) Best Team Blog: VEB

11) Best Professional Blog: Bird Land

12) Best UCB Project: October Roundtables

13) Most Optimistic Blog: I don't know

14) Funniest Blog: I don't know

15) Best Blog Post/Series of the Year" Scott Rolen vs. Eddie Vedder

16) Rookie Blog of the Year: Pitchers Hit Eighth

Monday, November 17, 2008

NL Most Valuable Player: Albert Pujols

While I did not predict him during the original predictions or midseason, I can say that during my postseason predictions, I said it would be him or Ryan Howard. So, for the NL MVP award, I'm 1 for 3 this season. Given the weekend I had, it cheers me up a little bit.

Matthew Leach at MLB:
The National League's best player has also been named its most valuable.

Albert Pujols' magnificent season earned him his second NL Most Valuable Player Award. Pujols finished ahead of Philadelphia's Ryan Howard, who beat him out by a narrow margin to win the 2006 MVP.

Pujols has finished in the top 10 in the voting in every one of his eight Major League seasons, and has been fourth or better seven times. He is the 11th player to win two NL MVP awards.

As baseball waited to hear the results of the ballot, the discussion centered on the definition of "most valuable." Some argued that because Pujols' Cardinals did not make the postseason, he could not be the most valuable player in the league. It was the only possible case against Pujols, who was indisputably his league's best hitter and who plays Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base.

Pujols had already been recognized with virtually every other major individual award for which he was eligible. He was named National League or Major League player of the year by the Sporting News, the MLB Players Association and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, as well as NL MVP in Baseball Prospectus' Internet Baseball Awards.

In the end, the Baseball Writers' Association of America joined the chorus, choosing not to penalize Pujols for his team's fourth-place finish. In fact, it's quite possible that quite the opposite happened -- that Pujols was rewarded for the Cardinals' place in the standings.[...]

It was by some measures the slugger's best season. He hit .357, two points shy of his career high, and set new personal bests with a .462 on-base percentage, a 1.115 OPS and 104 walks. He slugged .653, nearly 30 points better than his career average, cranking 37 homers and 44 doubles. Pujols drove in 116 runs, scored 100 and struck out just 54 times.

It was not only a supremely productive season for Pujols, it was a consistent one as well. He never hit lower than .302 in any month, never had an OBP lower than .413 and never slugged below .558. He came on especially strong in the second half, batting .366 and slugging .706 after the All-Star break. Pujols finished seven points behind Chipper Jones in the race for the NL batting title.

Only four players -- Barry Bonds, Roy Campanella and Stan Musial -- have been the NL MVP three or more times. Musial had been the only Cardinal to win the award twice or more.

In the history of the award, 13 Cardinals have won a combined 16 times. In addition to Pujols and Musial, Willie McGee, Keith Hernandez, Joe Torre, Bob Gibson, Orlando Cepeda, Ken Boyer, Marty Marion, Mort Cooper, Joe Medwick, Dizzy Dean and Frankie Frisch all garnered MVP honors.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

AL Cy Young Award winner: Cliff Lee

While I did not predict him during the original predictions or midseason, I can say that during my postseason predictions, I said it would be him or Roy Halladay. So, for the AL Cy Young award, I'm 1 for 3 this season.

The constant quest for perfection drove Cliff Lee to great feats throughout 2008.

"Even if I had won every start, I don't know if I'd be satisfied," he said near the season's end. "There's always something you can do better. I don't know how to explain it other than that. It's just the way I am, I guess."

But even Lee has to be satisfied with what took place Thursday, when the Baseball Writers' Association of America named him the American League Cy Young Award winner.

The honor was well-deserved. Lee led the AL in wins with a 22-3 record and in ERA with a 2.54 mark, posted the third-highest winning percentage (.880) for a 20-game winner in baseball history and became the Tribe's first 20-game winner since Gaylord Perry in 1974. The voters took notice. Lee received 24 of 28 first-place votes and finished with 132 points in balloting. He beat out the Jays' Roy Halladay, who finished second with 74 votes.

Lee followed the trail of former teammate and fellow left-hander CC Sabathia, who, one year ago, became the Indians' first Cy Young winner since Perry in 1972. Lee, Sabathia and Perry are the only Tribe pitchers to win the prestigious award.

Lee captured his in dramatic fashion, having been banished to the Minor Leagues and left off the Indians' playoff roster in '07. He was 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA in that '07 season, which was marred by a right abdominal strain he suffered in Spring Training.

In Spring Training of this year, Lee had to fight for a spot on the Tribe's roster. Because of the $3.75 million Lee was set to make, it was generally assumed he was the front-runner to beat out young left-handers Aaron Laffey and Jeremy Sowers, but the Indians nonetheless wanted him to earn the job.

Lee earned it all right. He looked confident and in command of all his pitches in spring camp, and the fifth starter's job was his.

But Lee wouldn't be the Tribe's fifth starter for long. He began the season 6-0 with a 0.81 ERA in his first six starts and never looked back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Managers of the Year: Joe Maddon and Lou Piniella

The ballots are in and the winners of both leagues have been named.
Joe Maddon and the man he succeeded as Tampa Bay manager, Lou Piniella, were named Managers of the Year in the American League and National League, respectively, by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, announced Wednesday afternoon.

Both were recognized for leading their teams to 2008 glory, with Maddon's Rays reaching a destination that remained out of the reach of Piniella's Cubs for a 63rd straight year -- the World Series.

Maddon's selection had been long anticipated, ever since he put the Tampa Bay Rays on track for their first playoff appearance following a 10-year existence of losing.

The honor is the first for the 54-year-old Maddon, who assumed his first managerial job when he was hired by Tampa Bay in November 2005, taking over after Piniella had guided his hometown team to 200 wins in three seasons.

And, typical of the blithe spirit that is often associated with the manager, Wednesday's announcement caught Maddon on a European honeymoon with his bride of a few days, Jaye.

Piniella, a two-time winner of AL honors in 1995 and 2001 with the Seattle Mariners, prevailed in a more competitive NL race after guiding the Cubs to the Central Division title with a 97-64 record.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NL Cy Young Award winner: Tim Lincecum

While I did not predict him during the original predictions, I did have him predicted at midseason. During my postseason predictions, I said it would be him or Brandom Webb. So, for the NL Cy Young award, I'm 2 for 3 this season.

Tim Lincecum has been called "The Freak," "The Franchise" and "Seabiscuit."
Now he can be called something else: The National League's Cy Young Award winner.

The Giants right-hander earned the prestigious honor, emblematic of the league's best pitcher, in voting conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and announced Tuesday.

Lincecum received 23 of 32 first-place votes, seven second-place votes and one third-place vote for 137 points, which were assigned on a 5-3-1 basis. He outdistanced Arizona's Brandon Webb (73 points), the New York Mets' Johan Santana (55), Philadelphia's Brad Lidge (10), Milwaukee's CC Sabathia (9) and the Chicago Cubs' Ryan Dempster (4).

Lincecum became only the second Giant to capture the Cy Young, joining 1967 winner Mike McCormick, and the first second-year player to earn the distinction since right-handers Dwight Gooden of the Mets and Bret Saberhagen of Kansas City secured the 1985 awards in their respective leagues.

At 24, Lincecum already has earned a place in Giants lore alongside Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry, San Francisco's Hall of Fame right-handers. Marichal somehow never received a Cy Young first-place vote in his six 20-win seasons, and Perry twice won the award after leaving the Giants.

Despite Lincecum's sustained excellence, he faced formidable competition for the award. Santana's 2.53 ERA led the NL, Webb's 22 victories paced the league, Sabathia performed in otherworldly fashion after being traded from Cleveland (11-2, 1.65 ERA) and Lidge converted all 41 of his regular-season save opportunities.

But none of them matched Lincecum's overall dominance. He compiled a league-best .783 winning percentage with his 18-5 record and amassed 265 strikeouts to become the first Giant in baseball's modern era (since 1900) to earn that distinction. Against Lincecum, opponents hit .221 overall and .167 with runners in scoring position while averaging 7.22 hits per nine innings -- all league lows. And his 2.62 ERA was the NL's second best.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Evan Longoria and Geovany Soto take home Rookie of the Year honors

Evan Longoria, the third baseman whose powerful bat keyed the Rays' remarkable turnaround season, and Cubs catcher Geovany Soto were named Monday the 2008 winners of their respective leagues' Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award.

Longoria was the unanimous American League selection of the 28 voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, for the 27 homers and 85 RBIs that followed his delayed addition to the Rays' lineup on April 12.

Longoria, also the only player named on all 28 ballots, and White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who drew 18 second-place votes and 59 total points, reigned over a deep influx of first-year players.

An unusually high number of 10 different rookies, half of them pitchers, attracted votes.

But none of them wowed voters like Longoria, the first unanimous AL winner since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997 (Albert Pujols took NL honors unanimously in 2001).[...]

Soto was nearly as popular a choice in the NL, getting 31 of the 32 first-place votes after minding the critical defensive position for the Central Division champs while putting up 23 homers and 86 RBIs.

He was the only player named on each of the 32 ballots, his 31 firsts and one second resulting in a total of 158 points. Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto finished second with 76 points and was followed by Atlanta pitcher Jair Jurrjens (34).

"I feel very honored," said Soto, speaking from his homeland of Puerto Rico, calling the moment he learned he'd won the award "very emotional. It was a very good moment in my life.

"I worked really, really hard. And now I feel all the work paid off."

The Reds had the distinction of placing three young talents among the top five, with right-hander Edinson Volquez and outfielder Jay Bruce following Jurrjens.

Volquez's presence on that list is definitely unique: No longer a rookie, the pitcher was mistakenly placed on the ballot and received three votes for second, thus there was an obligation to include him in the final results.
Postseason predictions aside, I am one for two in the ROY predictions. I had correctly predicted Evan Longoria as the AL recipient of the Rookie of the Year award.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Around the interwebs...

Derrick Goold looks at the price of pitching.

Six Cardinals filed for free agency after the end of the World Series.
The six Cardinals who filed Thursday were: RHP Braden Looper, SS Cesar Izturis, INF Felipe Lopez, C Jason LaRue, LHP Ron Villone and veteran righthanded reliever Russ Springer. Springer, who threw the final pitch of the 2008 season, recently told senior baseball writer Joe Strauss that he is leaning toward pitching again in 2009 and would prefer to return to the Cardinals.
The Cards have their own plans for the offseason.
"It's a great opportunity to get a grasp of what teams are looking for and if there are areas to address your own needs," says Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, who actually arrived with several lieutenants Saturday. "It's an important time period. It's not make-or-break. But it can really help set what direction we go in."

Coming off their most prolific regular season since 2005, the Cardinals are admittedly in search of a middle infield makeover, help for the left side of their bullpen and perhaps another starting pitcher.

A persistent search for another "impact bat" to better protect first baseman Albert Pujols goes on but probably falls far down Mozeliak's shopping list.
Larue has been resigned for a one year deal.

This is an interesting take on the past election and how it impacts the Cardinals over the next season and future seasons to come.
When a new President is elected, the Cardinals have had a losing record only once in the 14 seasons that coincide with the first year of a new administration. But they have never finished better than second place in those seasons, and they have only once made the postseason. (It took a Wild Card berth in 2001 to accomplish that.) In the nine times that there has been a change of President AND a change of party — as is the case, of course, this coming 2009 — the Cardinals have never had a losing record with a new party and new President in office.[...]

The Yankees have won six of their 26 championships in the year after a Presidential Election. Not all tha striking considering the odds are better than 1-for-4 in the last century that the Yankees won. But as detailed earlier this year by The New York Daily News, the Yankees success with a Democrat Commander in Chief borders on uncanny. (Bettered only by the Green Bay Packers’ 12 championship titles — nine with a Democrat in office and three with a Republican President. So, chin up, Dad.) The Yankees have won 22 of their 39 pennants with a Democrat in office. They’ve gone 7-10 in World Series with the GOP in the White House, and a remarkable 19-3 with a Democrat sitting there.

Two of those three losses were to the Cardinals, in 1942 (FDR) and 1964 (LBJ).

The past five National League pennants the Cardinals have won came with a Republican in the Presidency (1982, 1985, 1987, 2004 and 2006). But they’ve been rather bi-partisan with their trips to the World Series. The Cardinals have gone to a World Series nine times with a Republican in office and eight times with a Democrat. The biggest difference: They win when it’s a Democrat.

DEM … 6-2 (.750)

REP … 4-5 (.444)
Yadier Molina took home a Gold Glove!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Roundtable Questions

As a part of the month-long series of questions of the day with the United Cardinal Bloggers, my question of the day was: There's been talk that Jake Peavy is on the market and the Cards are a possible option. Do you see them going after Peavy at all. If so, is Rasmus on the table or would you trade Skip or Ludwick for him?

C70 at the Bat: Up front: I'm a huge Peavy fan. I would love to have him in Cardinal red.

That said, with the financial obligation it would take to get him, I think it'd wind up crippling the team. This is where we get into those contracts we wish we didn't have, because without the resigning of Lohse or Carpenter's extension, maybe they can do something. But you know that, since the only reason SD would be dealing him is for salary relief, they aren't going to pay any of it nor take back a bad contract of ours.

Assuming, though, that ownership decided to really raise the payroll level and a Peavy acquisition wouldn't put major crimps in other parts of the ballclub, I think I would make the deal, even if it included Rasmus. Obviously, if they'd take Skip or even Ludwick instead, I'd do that first, but pitching wins in my book.

Pitchers Hit Eighth: While I was definitely on-board with a Peavy trade when the news first started circulating, I’m thinking a little differently now.

Trading away your top prospects and young players for Peavy now, regardless of his age and/or ability, would signify a large step toward a return to the Jocketty Doctrine. Trade your promising young players for vets, scrape together a couple of competing seasons, then find yourself right back where you began.

It’s those trades that put the Cardinals in the position they find themselves today, having to rebuild a farm system from scratch. Not having any more trade capital to make the deals that kept the Cards competitive for so long (Edmonds, Rolen, Kile, etc).

The organization has put an emphasis on building a self-sufficient franchise and farm system, something that is an absolute necessity for the Cardinals to continue to compete on a yearly basis, given their market. By that, what I mean is this: can you imagine an Oakland A’s type of system of virtually interchangeable parts, with the Cardinals’ payroll? I mean, even an increase to the Cards’ level would represent a huge increase over what the A’s are putting out on a yearly basis, and they could keep a lot more of those players together.

In today’s MLB, I think the key to winning is developing cheap, cost-controlled pitching. With pitchers being so prone to injury, so volatile in going from league to league (or even park to park, in an argument more specific to Peavy), there just seems to be increasing risk in signing free agent pitchers or trading for guys who are beginning to break down (which also begs the question of why other teams (read: the A’s) know a guy is about to fall apart, but some teams (read: the Cardinals) can’t see that?).

Sorry, I’m getting a little long-winded here, but my point is this: don’t sell out the farm again for a guy like Peavy, who may well end up on the shelf with similar arm troubles as Carp or Mulder. Let’s actually see what some of these youngsters can do before we sell them off trying to “win one more for LaRussa” or something silly like that. Sure, some of these kids are going to flop and we could’ve gotten great value for them while they were still in the minors. But some of them will go on to do great things for the Cardinals, and wouldn’t you rather see a minimum salary flop, than a $15m per one? The Cardinals have some guys who are being paid a lot more than I to determine whether these players are going to be worth anything in the big leagues – I trust them, if they say we shouldn’t trade Rasmus because he’s going to be a perennial All-Star. Isn’t six years worth of cheap Rasmus (obviously assuming he pans out) always going to be worth more than Peavy at his price?

The Redbird Blog: Based on the latest news (per Strauss and Miklasz), I'd say the Cards are not in the hunt for Peavy. Do I think they should be? Absolutely. Would I consider Rasmus in a package for Peavy? Absolutely.

IMO, the Cards need to try to win while Pujols is under contract. We just don't know what his eventual asking price will be, or whether the Cards will be in a position to meet that price. Acquiring a pitcher of Peavy's caliber does a few things:

1) Acquiring Peavy through trade (and he has a reasonable salary for the next two seasons) means the Cards have more $ to spend in the offseason this year---potentially on another bat or on bullpen help.

2) A rotation including both Peavy and Wainwright would match up against any in the NL. If Carpenter is healthy, it might be the best rotation in the league.

If I'm Mozeliak, I try to make this deal.

Cardinal Nation Globe: Unfortunately, I don't see the Cards going after Peavy, although I would like them to. I would would put Ludwick or Schumaker on the table, not Rasmus.

Cardinals GM: I would go for Peavy and include Rasmus in a trade along with Skip if it took to get him. Rasmus has potential but so did Daric Barton and so far that hasn't been an impact many thought it would.

Fungoes: The first thing to ask is "Would you want Peavy's contract, regardless of what one would have to give up for him?" To this, I'd answer "yes": The $82 million he's due over the next five seasons (according to Strauss), is, believe it or not, about the same as the $82.65 million that he'll be worth (according to BPro's MORP, Marginal Value Above Replacement Player). The contract covers his age-28 through -32 seasons; just at and slightly beyond his peak. So he's a good value. Nick's point that "cheap, cost-controlled pitching" is key to winning is well-taken; but given that Peavy comes with a good contract and is still relatively young, he actually represents "reasonable, cost-controlled pitching."

The second question, as a couple of you have already noted, is how much to give up for Peavy, and how that changes the club's post-Jocketty era direction. Given their current outfield situation and Rasmus's lack of a strong half of AAA ball, Rasmus isn't too steep a price to pay. Beyond that, the deal starts losing value for the Cardinals. I do wish that people, including Mozeliak, would remove the phrase "if Carpenter is healthy" from their vocabulary and realistically consider a 2009 (and beyond) without him (though perhaps Mozeliak is merely being publicly coy about it).

Redbirds Fun: If I were Mo, I'd make the deal too. I like Skip, Rick, Ludwick, and Rasmus but I feel as if our outfield will be overcrowded soon enough.

I hope we either make a run at Furcal or Peavy. We really need a solid middle infield.

Pitchers Hit Eighth: The problem with a Peavy deal is this:

Everyone assumes it will be Rasmus, a few throw-ins (because Raz is THE NEXT COMING), and then Peavy wins Cy Youngs for the Birds.

What if Towers wants to get Rasmus, Perez, Motte, and Jess Todd for Peavy? Do you still make the trade?

Rasmus, Anderson, Daryl Jones, and Pete Kozma? Do you do that deal?

The fact that Mozeliak and others (the Braves’ Frank Wren dismissed rumors about a prospects for Peavy deal today) are so quickly panning tells me one of two things – either the asking price (rumored to be at least Bedard-level, probably higher) is prohibitive, or everyone’s playing possum.

Stan Musial's Stance: Pip hits the nail on the head below. Peavy's only 27; to get the 5 years of his prime for a reasonable price seems to me to be a no-brainer. The only issue would be the size of the package required to pry him from San Diego. The club will have to give up somebody good; Kevin Towers won't make a Woody Williams for Ray Lankford trade again, even if all of us said novenas asking for the trade to be Duncan and Piniero for Peavy.

I would prefer to trade Ludwick on the premise of sell high - Love the kid, but I believe we witnessed his career year in 2008. I don't think the Padres would take Schumaker. If the deal required parting with Rasmus, then I think we should go for it.

Remember, David Green was our centerfielder of the future in 1982 - then he got hurt, and some guy named Willie McGee came along. No matter how touted a player is, you just never know.

Bert Flex: I really don't know why we'd be interested in Peavy when Mark Mulder is back on the market...

Stan Musial's Stance: Nice. I almost spit coffee on the screen while reading that one...

Pitchers Hit Eighth: Again, though, I don't think the issue is Rasmus. I suspect that if the Pads wanted to go Peavy for Rasmus straight up, Mozeliak couldn't put his stamp on the deal quickly enough.

I just don't think he's going to come that cheaply. So it's not just a matter of "will you trade Rasmus?" It's a matter of "how much more do you want in addition to Rasmus?" I would guess it's quite a bit...

Stan Musial's Stance: That's true. The Union Tribune here indicated the Padres want two pitching prospects in addition to a position player for Peavy. I don't know our minor league pitchers as well as some on this email chain, but if the Padres hold out for two pitching prospects the level of Rasmus then it gets dicey. I think Mo could talk Towers into Rasmus, Anderson, and 1 class "A" pitching prospect for Peavy. The other pitcher, well, Kelvin Jimenez, anyone?

Pitchers Hit Eighth: If they're looking for Raz plus pitching - my guess would be that Towers would start at Rasmus, Jess Todd, and either Perez or Motte.

Maybe even Rasmus, Perez, and Motte.

If I was in charge, I'm not willing to make either of those deals. Maybe I'm just too invested in this youth movement thing...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 MLB Postseason Award Predictions

Since we're in between end of the NLCS and the start of the World Series, I decided to look over my 2008 MLB preseason predictions. I correctly predicted the NL East, NLCS winner, AL West, and AL Wild Card.

Now, for those updated awards:
NL MVP: Before the season I picked Chase Utley of the Philiadelphia Phillies. I'm now thinking that it will be either Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard.

NL CY YOUNG: Although he has over 200 strikeouts this past season, I don't think my pick of Cole Hamels of the Philiadelphia Phillies will win. It will either be Brandon Webb or Tim Lincecum.

NL ROY: Rasmus did not see a day of light this year. It's going to be either Edinson Volquez or Jay Bruce.

AL MVP: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

AL CY YOUNG: I picked Justin Verlander originally but it's probably going to be Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee.

AL ROY: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
Longoria made an impact upon arrival and helped lead Tampa Bay to the playoffs.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Daily Show: Cubs fans are stupid

John Oliver:...And finally Cubs fans.

Jon Stewart: Cubs fans are considered subsets of the stupids?

Oliver: Oh, absolutely, Jon! They had had 100 years to figure out that what they want will never happen and yet they still yearn for it.

Stewart: And that is stupid.

Oliver: Yes, it's very stupid.

Stewart: Because the Cubs will never win.

Oliver: That's right, Jon. The Chicago Cubs will never, ever win the World Series. They won't do it.

Stewart: They have made G-d angry.

Oliver: That's right. That's what I am saying.

RIP: George Kissell (1920-2008)

It's a sad time for Cardinal fans. We mourn the passing of George Kissell, who died following an an automobile accident that left him in critical condition.
Early one morning several years ago, George Kissell, the baseball sage known as "The Professor," made his return to spring training, and Cardinals coaches conspired to make sure he was the last one out of the clubhouse. When he emerged, an ovation awaited from the gathered players who were applauding what was true for generations of men who wore the jersey.

Kissell helped mold them from players into Cardinals.

"I've always been known as a hard-nosed guy, but today you really touched me to the heart," Kissell told the players that morning in February 2005. "I'll never take the birds off my chest. When I take them off, that's my last day in baseball."[...]

For nearly seven decades, Kissell was a creator and curator of what manager Tony La Russa calls the "Cardinal Way."

He joined the organization in 1940, signed by Branch Rickey after a tryout in New York, and served the club in almost every capacity. He managed in the minors, coached in the majors, taught minor-leaguers how to play like major-leaguers and taught major-leaguers how to play new positions. The past several years he had served as the Cardinals' senior field coordinator for player development.

This spring training was his 68th in 69 years as a Cardinal.

"George Kissell should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame," former Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty told Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz in 2000. "He's a treasure in this game. Think of the difference he made in all of those careers, how he's influenced the game of baseball. There's no way to measure his true value."[...]

In 1993, Kissell received the "King of Baseball" award, given by minor-league baseball for service to the game. Those in attendance gave him an eight-minute standing ovation. In 2003, he was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. That same year, Baseball America gave him the Roland Hemond award for a lifetime commitment to baseball. Another ovation. The players were already standing that February morning in 2005 when he was the last to come out of the clubhouse.

Once the clapping calmed, Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. revealed a plaque that had been affixed to the clubhouse at the team's Jupiter, Fla., campus. It renamed the clubhouse for Kissell.

The plaque read, in part: "Every player in the Cardinals' Organization since 1940 has had contact with George Kissell and they have all been better for it. ... Well known for his emphasis on fundamentals, George taught several generations of Redbirds how to play baseball."

He turned a pitcher named Ken Boyer into a third baseman who went on to win an MVP award. Kissell taught Andy Van Slyke to play the outfield and John Mabry to play the infield, and he shepherded Joe Torre in his shift from catcher to third base. He once told a young Anthony "Tony" La Russa that he was better suited to be a major-league manager than a major-league player. In 1989, Kissell was featured in a Sports Illustrated article titled "The College of Cardinals." He was described as the dean.

Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson, a protégé of Kissell's, once described Kissell as "the greatest baseball fundamentalist I have ever known."

He also described him as the "smartest man in baseball."

"I learned more baseball from George Kissell than from anyone else in my life," Torre told the St. Petersburg Times in 1997. Torre won four World Series titles as manager of the New York Yankees, and in his autobiography he called Kissell his greatest teacher. He told the paper: "A lot of people can play the game, but not as many people can teach the game. And George, to me, was the ultimate. Is the ultimate."

To teach Torre how to play third, Kissell had Torre stand a body's length away from the outfield wall and face it. Kissell would then stand behind Torre and fire baseballs at the wall. Torre improved his reaction by fielding the ricochets. Mabry tells a similar story of what he called "Kissell drills." Kissell, almost half the size of his pupils but twice as intense, ambled out to Mabry at third base and took away the infielder's glove.

He then told Mabry to get on his knees to field grounders.

"Basically, he just took me out there and beat me to death with a fungo," Mabry joked. "I'd be on my knees just looking at the ball coming off the bat — with no glove."

Kissell was renowned for his sayings, his quips, but also his relentlessly encouraging spirit. He once needled players by saying that his wife could bunt better. He called spring training "spring cleaning — a time to knock the dust out of you." Once, while showing Yadier Molina how to improve his bunting, he instructed the catcher: "The bat has no knowledge at all. It does what you tell it to."
May he rest in peace.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cards news over the last few weeks...

Kyle McClellan was named as the organization's rookie of the year and very much deserved on his part.

SI reports on another amazing season by Albert Pujols.

Yet again, Russ Springer is pondering his eventual retirement.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Resigning Kyle Lohse

I just want to say that I am so glad we decided to resign Kyle Lohse for the next few seasons. Sure, after his performance in Cincinnati, I had my doubts but then he went to Philly.

In 33 starts this season, Lohse pitched 200 innings and finished with a 15-6 record. Unlike the last few years, he kept his ERA under 4. Furthermore, we just need to keep pitching him at home, where he went 8-2 this year with a 3.32 ERA. Throw him at night, too: 11-1 and 2.97.

In addition to resigning Lohse, we were able to keep Dave Duncan for another season with a club option for 2010.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Recapping the last month of the season...

I've been busy as of late and with the Jewish new year starting at sundown, I'm going through this as quick as I can.

September 5, 2008
Florida 4, St. Louis 1
Losing pitcher - Ryan Franklin (5-6)

September 6, 2008
Florida 3, St. Louis 5
Winning pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (12-6)
SV - Ryan Franklin (15)
STL HR - Albert Pujols (31)

September 7, 2008
Florida 1, St. Louis 3
Winning pitcher - Adam Wainwright (9-3)
SV - Chris Perez (7)
STL HR - Albert Pujols (32)

September 9, 2008
Chi. Cubs 3, St. Louis 4
Winning pitcher - Chris Perez (3-2)
STL HR - Albert Pujols (33)

September 10, 2008
Chi. Cubs 4, St. Louis 3
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (12-12)
STL HR - Ryan Ludwick (33)

September 11, 2008
Chi. Cubs 3, St. Louis 2
Losing pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (12-7)

September 12, 2008
St. Louis 2, Pittsburgh 10
Losing pitcher - Joel Pineiro (6-6)

September 13, 2008
St. Louis 6, Pittsburgh 7
Losing pitcher - Chris Perez (3-3)
STL HR - Felipe Lopez (5)

September 14, 2008
St. Louis 2, Pittsburgh 7
Losing pitcher - Brad Thompson (5-3)

September 16, 2008
St. Louis 2, Cincinnati 7
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (12-13)
STL HR - Troy Glaus (24), Aaron Miles (4)

September 17, 2008
St. Louis 0, Cincinnati 3
Losing pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (12-8)

September 18, 2008
St. Louis 5, Cincinnati 4
Winning pitcher - Kyle Lohse (14-6)
SV - Jason Motte (1)
STL HR - Albert Pujols (34)

September 19, 2008
St. Louis 12, Chi. Cubs 6
Winning pitcher - Adam Wainwright (10-3)
STL HR - Adam Kennedy (2), Ryan Ludwick (34)

September 20, 2008
St. Louis 4, Chi. Cubs 5
Losing pitcher - Joel Pineiro (6-7)
STL HR - Troy Glaus (25)

September 21, 2008
St. Louis 1, Chi. Cubs 5
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (12-14)

September 22, 2008
Arizona 4, St. Louis 2
Losing pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (12-9)

September 23, 2008
Arizona 4, St. Louis 7
Winning pitcher - Kyle Lohse (15-6)
SV - Ryan Franklin (16)
STL HR - Ryan Ludwick (35)

September 24, 2008
Arizona 2, St. Louis 4
Winning pitcher - Adam Wainwright (11-3)
SV - Ryan Franklin (17)

September 25, 2008
Arizona 3, St. Louis 12
Winning pitcher - Joel Pineiro (7-7)
STL HR - Ryan Ludwick (36), Albert Pujols (35)

September 26, 2008
Cincinnati 6, St. Louis 7
Winning pitcher - Ryan Franklin (6-6)
STL HR - Albert Pujols (36)

September 27, 2008
Cincinnati 5, St. Louis 8
Winning pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (13-9)
STL HR - Troy Glaus (26), Felipe Lopez (6), Albert Pujols (37)

September 28, 2008
Cincinnati 4, St. Louis 11
Winning pitcher - Brad Thompson (6-3)
STL HR - Troy Glaus (27), Ryan Ludwick (37)

The Cardinals finish the 2008 season with a final record of 86-76.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Nation Remembers

A poem written by Jack Buck

Since this nation was founded under God
More than 200 years ago

We've been the bastion of freedom...

The light that keeps the free world aglow.
We do not covet the possessions of others,
We are blessed with the bounty we share.

We have rushed to help other nations...

War is just not our nature...we won't start
But we will end the fight.
If we are involved we shall be resolved to
Protect what we know is right.

We have been challenged by a cowardly foe
Who strikes and then hides from our view.

With one voice we say, "There's no choice
Today, there is only one thing to do"

Everyone is saying the same thing
And praying that we end these senseless
Moments we are living.

As our fathers did before, we shall win
This unwanted war

And our children will enjoy the future,
We'll be giving.

Written by Jack Buck
September 14, 2001

Monday, September 08, 2008

Today in Cardinals History - 1998

Ten years ago today, Mark McGwire hit the 62nd home run of the season to break Roger Maris' single season home run record.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Cards Recap over the past few weeks

I moved to Chicago recently so I've been very busy as of late and just now have some time to update this blog.

Cardinals vs. Braves
August 22, 2008
Atlanta 3, St. Louis 18
Winning pitcher - Adam Wainwright (7-3)
SV - Joel Pineiro (1)

18 runs on 26 hits and would you believe that not a single hit went over the fence?

August 23, 2008
Atlanta 8, St. Louis 4
Losing pitcher - Kyle McClellan (2-6)
HR: Albert Pujols (27)

August 24, 2008
Atlanta 3, St. Louis 6
Winning pitcher - Braden Looper (12-10)
SV - Chris Perez (5)
STL HR - A. Pujols (28)

St. Louis finished the series against Atlanta with a 73-59 record.

Cardinals vs. Brewers
August 26, 2008
Milwaukee 12, St. Louis 0
Losing pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (11-5)

August 27, 2008
Milwaukee 3, St. Louis 5
Winning pitcher - Ryan Franklin (5-5)
SV - Chris Perez (6)
HR: Ryan Ludwick (32)

St. Louis split the series against the Brewers, when we needed to sweep, and moves to a 74-60 record.

Cardinals vs. Astros
August 29, 2008
St. Louis 2, Houston 3
Losing pitcher - Russ Springer (2-1)

August 30, 2008
St. Louis 5, Houston 8
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (12-11)
HR: Rick Ankiel (25), Albert Pujols (29)

August 31, 2008
St. Louis 0, Houston 3
Losing pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (11-6)

The Cardinals were swept and move to a 74-63 record.

Cardinals vs. Diamondbacks
September 1, 2008
St. Louis 6, Arizona 8
Losing pitcher - Kyle McClellan (2-7)
HR: Felipe Lopez (3), Joe Mather (8), Yadier Molina (6), Albert Pujols (30)

September 2, 2008
St. Louis 8, Arizona 2
Winning pitcher - Adam Wainwright (8-3)
HR: Troy Glaus (22), Felipe Lopez (4), Yadier Molina (7)

September 3, 2008
St. Louis 3, Arizona 4
Losing pitcher - Chris Perez (2-2)
HR: Troy Glaus (23)

The Cards finish the series with a 75-65 record.

It's interesting to note Yadier Molina's statistics this season. Currently, he has a .307 average with 7 home runs, 37 runs, and 55 RBI with a SLG% of .398 and OBP of .350. As for his career statistics, he has career highs in everything but 3B (1 in 2005) and home runs (8 in 2005). He is 4 walks shy of tying his career record of 34 in 2007. Great read by Matt Ritter.
Yadier Molina's defense has spoken for itself throughout his five-year career. This season, however, Molina has proven that there is more to him than just being one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.

Molina owned a .310 batting average entering play Wednesday afternoon, placing him seventh overall in the National League. That's almost unprecedented for someone who owned a career batting average of .248 before this season. In 2006, Molina hit .216, the lowest among all starting catchers in the Majors.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Molina has always had the right approach at the plate, but this season Molina has heeded more advice from a teammate with pretty impressive offensive credentials of his own.

"He's smart enough to listen to Albert," La Russa said, referring to Molina's fellow Dominican teammate, Albert Pujols.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vote for Fred Bird!

Home Run Derby's Mascot Brackets have reached the Second Round...
And they have got a feathered matchup between two Central Division rivals...
#1 -Pirate Parrot (Pittsburgh Pirates) vs. #5 - Fredbird (St Louis Cardinals)

Keep your Fred Bird alive in MLB Mascot Brackets...

You can vote until Aug 24 at Midnight CDT.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Albert Pujols' current stats

Going into August 20, 2008:

Runs: 77
RBI: 77
HR: 26
AVG: .346

Cards vs. Pirates

August 19, 2008
Pittsburgh 4, St. Louis 1
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (11-10)

August 20, 2008
Pittsburgh 2, St. Louis 11
Winning pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (11-4)
HR: Rick Ankiel (24), Jason LaRue (4)

The Cards leave with a 71-58 record.

Goodbye Isringhausen?

Jason Isringhausen has been shut down for the season with career-threatening elbow tendinitis. I hate to see a good player have to retire due to injuries.

Cards vs. Reds

August 15, 2008
St. Louis 5, Cincinnati 3
Winning pitcher - Brad Thompson (5-2)
SV - Chris Perez (4)
HR: Rick Ankiel (23)

August 16, 2008
St. Louis 9, Cincinnati 3
Winning pitcher - Joel Pineiro (6-5)
HR: Ryan Ludwick (31), Albert Pujols 2 (25, 26), Skip Schumaker (8)

August 17, 2008
St. Louis 3, Cincinnati 7
Losing pitcher - Kyle Lohse (13-6)

The Cards exit Cincy with a 70-57 record.

Cards vs. Marlins

August 11, 2008
St. Louis 4, Florida 2
Winning pitcher - Joel Pineiro (5-5)
SV - Chris Perez (2)
HR: Joe Mather (7), Yadier Molina (5)

August 12, 2008
St. Louis 3, Florida 4
Losing pitcher - Kyle Lohse (13-5)

August 13, 2008
St. Louis 6, Florida 4
Winning pitcher - Braden Looper (11-9)
SV - Chris Perez (3)

August 14, 2008
St. Louis 3, Florida 0
Winning pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (10-4)
HR: Ryan Ludwick (30)

The Cards exited Florida with a 68-56 record.

Cards vs. Cubs

The Cards ventured up to Chicago to play the arch-rivals.

August 8, 2008
St. Louis 2, Chi. Cubs 3
Losing pitcher - Ryan Franklin (4-5)
HR: Joe Mather (6)

August 9, 2008
St. Louis 12, Chi. Cubs 3
Winning pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (9-4)
HR: Troy Glaus 2 (20, 21), Albert Pujols (24), Skip Schumaker (7)

What is hard to believe was that Carlos Zambrano started the game!

August 10, 2008
St. Louis 2, Chi. Cubs 6
Losing pitcher - Chris Carpenter (0-1)

The Cards exited Wrigley with a 65-55 record.

Cards vs. Dodgers

August 5, 2008
Los Angeles 4, St. Louis 6
Winning pitcher - Jaime Garcia (1-1)
HR: Ryan Ludwick (28), Albert Pujols (22)

August 6, 2008
Los Angeles 6, St. Louis 9
Winning pitcher - Joel Pineiro (4-5)
SV - Chris Perez (1)
HR: Ryan Ludwick (29), Albert Pujols (23)

August 7, 2008
Los Angeles 4, St. Louis 1
Losing pitcher - Kyle Lohse (13-4)

The Cards move on from Los Angeles with a 64-53 record.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Cards vs. Phillies

August 1, 2008
Philadelphia 3, St. Louis 6
Winning pitcher - Kyle Lohse (13-3)
SV - Jason Isringhausen (12)
HR: Ryan Ludwick 2 (24, 25), Joe Mather (5)

August 2, 2008
Philadelphia 2, St. Louis 1
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (10-9)
HR: Ryan Ludwick (26)

August 3, 2008
Philadelphia 5, St. Louis 4
Losing pitcher - Jamie Garcia (0-1)
HR: Ryan Ludwick (27), Troy Glaus (19)

The Cards are now 62-52.

Cards vs. Braves

July 28, 2008
St. Louis 12, Atlanta 3
Winning pitcher - Braden Looper (10-8)
HR: Joe Mather (3)

July 29, 2008
St. Louis 8, Atlanta 3
Winning pitcher - Ryan Franklin (4-4)
HR: Albert Pujols (21)

July 30, 2008
St. Louis 7, Atlanta 2
Winning pitcher - Brad Thompson (4-2)
SV - Ron Villone (1)
HR: Joe Mather (4)

July 31, 2008
St. Louis 4, Atlanta 9
Losing pitcher - Joel Pineiro (3-5)

The Cards move on with a 61-50 record.

Cards vs. Mets

July 25, 2008
St. Louis 2, N.Y. Mets 7 Winning
Losing pitcher - Mitchell Boggs (3-2)

July 26, 2008
St. Louis 10, N.Y. Mets 8
Winning pitcher - Brad Thompson (3-2)
HR: Albert Pujols (19)

July 27, 2008
St. Louis 1, N.Y. Mets 9
Losing pitcher - Kyle Lohse (12-3)
HR: Albert Pujols (20)

The Cards move on with a 58-49 record.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where are they now - the 2006 World Champion Cardinals

I'm doing this mainly because I saw Hector Luna play yesterday in a minor league game. Luna played for the Cards in the first half of the season until being traded for Ronnie Belliard.

Position Players:
Yadier Molina (C): Molina is still the starting catcher for the Cardinals. In January 2008, he agreed to a 4 year $15.5 million deal with a club option for a fifth
Albert Pujols (1B): Still starting at 1st, $100 million contract extension with a $16 million club option for 2011 on February 20, 2004
Aaron Miles (2B): platoons for short stop and second base with the Cardinals after resigning one year contracts for both seasons
Scott Rolen (3B): Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for 3B Troy Glaus during the past offseason
David Eckstein (SS): Signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays during the past offseason
So Taguchi (LF): Signed as a Free Agent with the Philadelphia Phillies during the past offseason following his release from the Cardinals
Jim Edmonds (CF): Traded to the San Diego Padres during the past offseason for minor league 3B David Freese. Relased by Padres in May and signed with the Chicago Cubs
Juan Encarnacion (RF): Currently on the 60 Day DL. struck in the face by a foul ball last year when Aaron Miles was batting
Chris Duncan: Still with the Cardinals, though currently on the DL
Scott Spiezio: Released following a DUI in 2008. Braves signed him to a minor league contract
Hector Luna: Traded midseason in 2006 for Ron Belliard. Claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Indians last season, and currently playing with Syracuse (AAA) in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
Ron Belliard: Signed as a Free Agent with the Washington Nationals in early 2007
John Rodriguez: Following release by the Cardinals in 2006, he signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets this past June.
Gary Bennett: Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers during the past offseason. Currently on the 60 Day DL
Preston Wilson: Resigned by the Cards in 2007 but a knee injury in May kept him out for the rest of the year. Currently an unsigned free agent
Skip Schumaker: He's the current usual starting LF for the Cardinals
Timo Perez: Granted free agency at the end of 2006 and signed as a Free Agent with the Detroit Tigers. Currently on Tigers' 40-man roster
Larry Bigbie: Released at the end of the 2006 season. Following the release of the Mitchell Report, he agreed to a deal to play for the Yokohama Bay Stars in the Japanese Central League
Jose Vizcaino: Declared a free agent at the end of 2006. Not currently playing for anyone.
John Gall: Released midseason in 2006, and signed with the Lotte Giants in Korea. In 2007, he signed as a Free Agent with the Florida Marlins. Currently with AAA-Albuquerque (Florida Marlins) but will miss the entire month of August so that he can play for Team USA in the Olympics
Mike Rose: Following the 2006 season, he signed as a Free Agent with the Cleveland Indians. In December 2007, Rose signed a minor league contract with a spring training invite for the Colorado Rockies. He was released during spring training. This year, he signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League
John Nelson: Played with Iowa and Memphis in 2007. In 2008, he signed with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

Jason Marquis: After 2006 season, Marquis signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.
Chris Carpenter: Signed with the team through 2011 with a club option for 2012. Missed most of 2007 and all of 2008 so far due to injury
Jeff Suppan: Following 2006 season, Suppan signed as a Free Agent with the Milwaukee Brewers
Jeff Weaver: At end of the 2006 season, Weaver signed as a Free Agent with the Seattle Mariners. In April 2008, he signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. On June 12, Weaver requested a release from his contract. By July 5, Weaver signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians
Mark Mulder: Following 2006, January 10, he agreed to a two-year $13 million contract, with performance-based incentives and a club option that could take the deal to three years at a possible $45 million. Mulder played this season but results have been unimpressive thus far
Anthony Reyes: Played a combo of gaves with both the Cards and Memphis since the start of 2007. Currently on a rehab assignment with Memphis
Sidney Ponson: Released in July 2006 by Cardinals and then signed as a Free Agent with the New York Yankees. Released by the Yankees in August 2006, and in January 2007, he signed as a Free Agent with the Minnesota Twins. The Twins would designate him for assignment in May 2007. In March 2008, Ponson signed a minor league contract with an invite to spring training with the Texas Rangers. He was called up in April but has since been DFA'd. In June, he signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees and has since made a start back in June.
Jason Isringhausen: Returned as a closer in 2007 and put up career numbers. Currently a set up man for the Cards after being removed from the closer's role in May
Randy Flores: Still a left=handed pitching specialist for the Cardinals
Josh Kinney: Underwent Tommy John surgery last season.
Josh Hancock: Deceased in April 2007
Adam Wainwright: In March, he signed a four-year deal with the Cardinals worth $21 million, with two club options for 2012 and 2013 that could push the value of the deal to $36 million. Currently rehabbing and should be back later this season
Jorge Sosa: In January 2007, Sosa signed as a Free Agent with the New York Mets. DFA'd by the Mets this past May, Sosa signed a minor league contract with the Houston Astros, but would be released in July.
Braden Looper: In final year of a three-year, $13.5M contract with the Cardinals. Converted to a starter during the 2007 season.
Brad Thompson: Since the start of 2007, Thompson has split time between the Cardinals and Memphis.
Brian Falkenborg: Released in 2007 and signed with a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Called up in June
Tyler Johnson: Injured since 2007 and has missed both seasons thus far.
Chris Narveson: Agreed to a minor league contract by the Milwaukee Brewers on December 3, 2007

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cards vs. Brewers

The Cards tackle the Brewers for second in the division and first in the wild card race!

July 21, 2008
Milwaukee 6, St. Louis 3
Losing pitcher - Ryan Franklin (3-3)

July 22, 2008
Milwaukee 4, St. Louis 3
Losing pitcher - Kyle McClellan (2-5)
HR: Ryan Ludwick (23)

July 23, 2008
Milwaukee 3, St. Louis 0
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (9-8)

July 24, 2008
Milwaukee 4, St. Louis 3
Losing pitcher - Ryan Franklin (3-4)

The Cards move on with a 57-47 record.

Cards vs. Padres

And let the second half begin!

July 17, 2008
San Diego 3, St. Louis 4
Winning pitcher - Kyle Lohse (12-2)
SV - Ryan Franklin (13)
HR: Rick Ankiel (21), Troy Glaus 2 (16, 17), Joe Mather (2)

July 18, 2008
San Diego 7, St. Louis 11
Winning pitcher - Kyle McClellan (2-4)
HR: Rick Ankiel (22), Ryan Ludwick (22)

July 19, 2008
San Diego 5, St. Louis 6
Winning pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (8-4)
SV - Ryan Franklin (14)

July 20, 2008
San Diego 5, St. Louis 9
Winning pitcher - Brad Thompson (2-2)
HR: Troy Glaus (18), Aaron Miles (3)

The Cards move to a 57-43 record for the season.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All Star Game

Former Cardinals honored before the game during the honoring of 49 Hall of Famers able to make the game:
P: Steve Carlton, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Gibson, Bruce Sutter
1B: Orlando Cepeda
SS: Ozzie Smith
OF: Lou Brock

Current or former Cardinals that made either All Star roster: Albert Pujols, Ryan Ludwick, Dan Haren and J.D. Drew.

That made for a total of 11 current or former Cardinals represented.

Now for all of the Hall of Famers that did make the game:
P: Steve Carlton, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Bob Gibson, Ferguson Jenkins, Juan Marichal, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Gaylord Perry, Robin Roberts, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Goose Gossage and Whitey Ford
C: Gary Carter, Yogi Berra
1B: Orlando Cepeda, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Murray, Tony Perez and Willie McCovey
2B: Rod Carew, Bill Mazeroski and Ryne Sandberg
3B: Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, George Brett and Wade Boggs
SS: Luis Aparicio, Ozzie Smith, Robin Yount, Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken Jr.
OF: Lou Brock, Billy Williams, Ralph Kiner, Willie Mays, Tony Gwynn, Al Kaline, Frank Robinson, Dave Winfield, Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson
DH: Paul Molitor
Managers: Earl Weaver, Tommy Lasorda and Dick Williams
Front Office: Lee MacPhail

George Steinbrenner delievered the ceremonial first pitch balls which were thrown by Goose Gossage, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson to current Yankees that were at the game: Reggie Jackson threw to Alex Rodriguez, Yogi Berra to Joe Girardi, Whitey Ford to Jeter and Goose Gossage to Mariano Rivera.

I would have liked to have seen Stan the Man and Red in attendence but I guess they were unable to make the trip due to their health.

When they introduced the managers, I thought they skipped the catchers but given the fact that Yogi Berra is one of the greatest Yankees of all times, it made sense to do that position last...not just that but unlike the other positions, the starters were introduced before the Hall of Famers.

All 63 players saw action including UK alumnus Brandon Webb, who just pitched this past Sunday.

Monday, July 14, 2008

2008 Midseason Awards

We've reached the halfway point of the 2008 baseball season and it's time to update my award picks based on statistics and the standings. As you may recall, my original picks were made with this posting here.

Based on the current standings, here is what the playoffs look like.

National League
East: Philadelphia Phillies
Central: Chicago Cubs
West: Arizona Diamondbacks
Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals

American League
East: Boston Red Sox
Central: Chicago White Sox
West: Los Angeles Angels
Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays

And for the midseason awards...

National League
Most Valuable Player: Chase Utley, PHI (25 HR)
Cy Young: Tim Lincecum, SF (11-2, 2.57, 135 K)
Rookie of the Year: Edinson Volquez, CIN (12-3, 2.29 ERA, 126 K)

American League
Most Valuable Player: Josh Hamilton, TEX (21 HR, 95 RBI)
Cy Young: Roy Halladay, TOR (11-6, 2.71, 121 K)
Honorable mention: Joe Saunders, LAA (12-5, 3.07, 63 K)
Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, TB (16 HR, 53 RBI)

Cards vs. Pirates

July 11, 2008
St. Louis 6, Pittsburgh 0
Winning pitcher - Kyle Lohse (11-2)
HR: Rick Ankiel (20), Ryan Ludwick (19)

July 12, 2008
St. Louis 11, Pittsburgh 12
Losing pitcher - Chris Perez (2-1)
HR: Troy Glaus (14), Ryan Ludwick (20)

One of the weirdest games ever...

July 13, 2008
St. Louis 11, Pittsburgh 6
Winning pitcher - Russ Springer (2-0)
HR: Troy Glaus (15), Ryan Ludwick (21), Aaron Miles (2)

The Cards go into the break with a record of 53-43.

Cards vs. Phillies

July 8, 2008
St. Louis 2, Philadelphia
Winning pitcher - Joel Pineiro (3-4)
SV - Ryan Franklin (12)
HR: Rick Ankiel (19), Ryan Ludwick (18)

July 9, 2008
St. Louis 2, Philadelphia 4
Losing pitcher - Kyle McClellan (1-4)

July 10, 2008
St. Louis 1, Philadelphia 4
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (9-7)

The Cards move to 51-42.

Trade Talks

I know it's satire but Bob Gibson is making a comeback.

In more serious news, on Baseball Tonight last night, Peter Gammons thinks the Cards are a leader if Toronto does decide to move A.J. Burnett.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

RIP: Dave Ricketts

The Cardinals have lost another member of the family. Dave Ricketts, who worked with the catchers for the Cardinals after playing, died of cancer at the age of 73. May he rest in peace.
Dave Ricketts shaped generations of catchers as a coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and will be remembered for his “passion”, his “zeal for life” and a contagious eagerness to teach, friends, teammates and pupils said Sunday after learning the longtime coach had died early Sunday morning.

“I learned a lot from him,” said Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo. “I learned how to teach. He was a friend and a good mentror. He had a great passion for teaching, and he knew how to get his point across in a unique way. He made sure you understood it. If he needed to repeat it 100 times or 1,000 times, he would do it until you got it done.

“He didn’t quit on anybody.”

Ricketts, who played for the Cardinals in the 1960s and returned later as a coach and instructor, died a day after his 73rd birthday. He had been battling cancer. He lived in St. Louis.

A native of Pennsylvania, Ricketts finished his major-league playing career as a Pirate and went onto coach for the Pirates at the major-league level. Former Pittsburgh pitcher and current broadcaster Steve Blass remembered as the hardest-working coach he’s had been around in 49 years with the game.[...]

Manager Tony La Russa placed Ricketts in the category of the Cardinals’ Mount Rushmore of coaches, which includes longtime minor-league instructor George Kissell, the keeper of the Cardinal Way, and Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst. It was the young catchers who worked mostly with Ricketts, but it was the entire organization that benefited from Ricketts’ presence.

“Sometimes the word ‘great’ gets over-used, and it’s a shame,” La Russa said. “There have been some truly great Cardinals who have come through the organization, but I don’t know anyone greater or more beloved than Dave Ricketts.”

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Cards vs. Cubs

Jim Edmonds returns...but in a Chicago uniform?!?

July 4, 2008
Chi. Cubs 2, St. Louis 1
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (9-6)
HR: Albert Pujols (18)

Pujols' 18th home run of this season was also the 300th home run of his career.

July 5, 2008
Chi. Cubs 4, St. Louis 5
Winning pitcher - Kyle McClellan (1-3)
HR: Rick Ankiel (18)

July 6, 2008
Chi. Cubs 7, St. Louis 1
Losing pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (7-4)
HR: Ryan Ludwick (17)

Dang it, Brewers, why did you have to tie us for second?!? The Cards are now 50-40 this season with one more week until the All-Star break.

All-Star Rosters Announced

American League
Starting Lineup
C - Joe Mauer, MIN
1B - Kevin Youkilis, BOS
2B - Dustin Pedroia, BOS
SS - Derek Jeter, NYY
3B - Alex Rodriguez, NYY
OF - Josh Hamilton, TEX
OF - Manny Ramirez, BOS
Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
DH - David Ortiz, BOSº

Justin Duchscherer, OAK
Roy Halladay, TOR
Scott Kazmir, TB
Cliff Lee, CLE
Joe Nathan, MIN
Jonathan Papelbon, BOS
Mariano Rivera, NYY
Francisco Rodriguez, LAA
Ervin Santana, LAA
Joe Saunders, LAA
George Sherrill, BAL
Joakim Soria, KC

C - Dioner Navarro, TB
C - Jason Varitek, BOS
1B - Justin Morneau, MIN
2B - Ian Kinsler, TEX
SS - Michael Young, TEX
3B - Joe Crede, CWS
3B - Carlos Guillen, DET
OF - J.D. Drew, BOS
OF - Carlos Quentin, CWS
OF - Grady Sizemore, CLE
DH - Milton Bradley, TEX

National League
Starting Lineup
C - Geovany Soto, CHC
1B - Lance Berkman, HOU
2B - Chase Utley, PHI
SS - Hanley Ramirez, FLA
3B - Chipper Jones, ATL
OF - Ryan Braun, MIL
OF - Kosuke Fukudome, CHC
OF - Alfonso Soriano, CHC

Aaron Cook, COL
Ryan Dempster, CHC
Dan Haren, ARI
Brad Lidge, PHI
Tim Lincecum, SF
Ben Sheets, MIL
Edinson Volquez, CIN
Billy Wagner, NYM
Brandon Webb, ARI
Brian Wilson, SF
Kerry Wood, CHC
Carlos Zambrano, CHC

C - Russell Martin, LA
C - Brian McCann, ATL
1B - Adrian Gonzalez, SD
1B - Albert Pujols, STL
2B - Dan Uggla, FLA
3B - Aramis Ramirez, CHC
SS - Cristian Guzman, WAS
SS - Miguel Tejada, HOU
OF - Matt Holliday, COL
OF - Ryan Ludwick, STL
OF - Nate McLouth, PIT

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Cards v. Cubs

The Cubs and Cards have an Independence Day series coming up.

I recently wagered with a Cubs' fan friend of mine over the outcome of the last Cubs/Cards series. The Cards snatched the series in a Sunday night rubber match and my friend - as per our wager - was obliged to place a framed photo of Willie McGee on his desk.

The next matchup begins Friday. The Cards are back up to 13 pitchers. Mulder looked to have some serious potential after his brief outing last night.

The question is this: Do I reissue the wager in the name of keeping Mr. McGee on my friend's desk? Will the Cards snag another series from the Cubbies?

Cards vs. Mets

June 30, 2008
N.Y. Mets 1, St. Louis 7
Winning pitcher - Kyle Lohse (10-2)
HR: Chris Duncan (5)

July 1, 2008
N.Y. Mets 7, St. Louis 4
Losing pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (7-3)
HR: Rick Ankiel (16)

July 2, 2008
N.Y. Mets 7, St. Louis 8
Winning pitcher - Ryan Franklin (3-2)
HR: Rick Ankiel (17), Chris Duncan (6), Troy Glaus 2 (12, 13)

July 3, 2008
N.Y. Mets 11, St. Louis 1
Losing pitcher - Mitchell Boggs (3-1)

The Cards moved to 49-38 on the season.

Cards vs. Royals

The Cards took on the Royals for the final interleague series during the 2008 season.

June 27, 2008
St. Louis 2, Kansas City 7
Losing pitcher - Joel Pineiro (2-4)
HR: Troy Glaus (11)

June 28, 2008
St. Louis 5, Kansas City 1
Winning pitcher - Mitchell Boggs (3-0)
HR: Rick Ankiel (15)

June 29, 2008
St. Louis 9, Kansas City 6
Winning pitcher - Chris Perez (2-0)
SV - Ryan Franklin (11)
HR: Jason LaRue (3), Albert Pujols (17)

The Cards finish the series with a 47-36 record on the season.

Cards vs. Tigers

June 24, 2008
St. Louis 8, Detroit 4
Winning pitcher - Braden Looper (9-5)
HR: Brian Barton (2)

June 25, 2008
St. Louis 7, Detroit 8
Losing pitcher - Kyle McClellan (0-3)
HR: Rick Ankiel 2 (13, 14), Skip Schumaker (6)

June 26, 2008
St. Louis 2, Detroit 3
Losing pitcher - Mike Parisi (0-4)

The Cards finish the series with a 45-35 record on the season.

Cards vs. Red Sox

June 20, 2008
St. Louis 5, Boston 4
Winning pitcher - Kyle Lohse (9-2)
SV - Ryan Franklin (10)
HR: Jason LaRue (2), Yadier Molina (4), Skip Schumaker (5)

June 21, 2008
St. Louis 9, Boston 3
Winning pitcher - Mitchell Boggs (2-0)
HR: Rick Ankiel (12), Troy Glaus (10), Aaron Miles (1)

June 22, 2008
St. Louis 3, Boston 5
Losing pitcher - Mike Parisi (0-3)

The sweep just was not meant to be but the Cards shelled Daisuke Matsuzaka to give him his first loss of the season. The Cards finish the series with a 44-33 record.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cards vs. Royals

The Cards play the first of a home and home series with the Kansas City Royals this week.

June 17, 2008
Kansas City 2, St. Louis 1
Losing pitcher - Ron Villone (1-2)

June 18, 2008
Kansas City 3, St. Louis 2
Losing pitcher - Kyle McClellan (0-2)

June 19, 2008
Kansas City 4, St. Louis 1
Losing pitcher - Brad Thompson (1-2)
HR: Rick Ankiel (11)

The Cards move on with a 42-32 record.

Cards vs. Phillies

We took two out of three...but did our loss have to be so depressing?!?

June 13, 2008
Philadelphia 20, St. Louis 2
Losing pitcher - Todd Wellemeyer (7-2)
HR: Skip Schumaker (3)

While we only had one home run, Philly had four of them. Two of them, due to my fantasy teams, I did not mind...that being Chase Utley (22) and Pat Burrell (17). But still...our playing was horrid last Friday.

The Cards had two runs on ten hits. The Phillies scored 20 times on 21 hits.

June 14, 2008
Philadelphia 2, St. Louis 3
Winning pitcher - Kyle Lohse (8-2)
SV - Ryan Franklin (9)
HR: Adam Kennedy (1)

June 15, 2008
Philadelphia 6, St. Louis 7
Winning pitcher - Anthony Reyes (2-1)
HR: Troy Glaus (9), Skip Schumaker (4)

The Cards move on with a 42-29 record.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Izzy could be back soon

When the Cardinals play the Cubs in the first weekend of July, the Cubs will be without Alfonso Soriano, who broke his hand yesterday against the Braves.

Mark Mulder might be back before the All-Star break. In the meantime, Mitchell Boggs has recieved a second start.

Izzy may be back soon.
"At that point, I was mentally exhausted," Isringhausen said Wednesday. "Not because I kept getting beat, but because I care about my teammates and I beat myself up even harder because I let them down. I've never been one to not want the team on my back. I always wanted to be the guy who wanted to carry the team.

"I didn't want to do it anymore," he said, "because I wasn't doing a good job of it."

Many of the Cardinals' horses and several of the closer's friends help put Isringhausen back together again. Immediately upon his arrival at the Cardinals' facility in Jupiter, Fla., Chris Carpenter and Josh Kinney spotted a flaw in Isringhausen's delivery that may have caused him problems. Along with Matt Morris, they were there Monday when Isringhausen trotted out his refined mechanics and pitched two shutout innings in his first rehab start.

Sent to Springfield on Wednesday for a second appearance in three days, Isringhausen was joined at Hammons Field by Mike Matheny and John Mabry.[...]

During his hiatus in Florida, Isringhausen and Carpenter discussed if that could be a cause for his problems — the lure of a career milestone. Recently, several hitters have slowed as they approached historic home run totals; starters can scuffle as they approach 300.

The two Cardinals pitchers wondered if a closer could do the same.

"I can't say yes or no to that," Isringhausen said. "I try not to think about it. I've never been caught up with it before. I can't let that consume me. But you see guys going for 600 (homers), 500 home runs and they take awhile to hit it and then when they do they're better.

"Everything then is better."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cards vs. Reds

St. Louis started their second series against the Reds this season, one day after Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 600th home run.

June 10, 2008
St. Louis 7, Cincinnati 2
Winning pitcher - Mitchell Boggs (1-0)*
HR: Rick Ankiel (9), Ryan Ludwick (15), Albert Pujols (16)

* denotes first major league win for Mitchell Boggs.

Pujols' 16th home run of the season was also his 298th in his career. He's two home runs away from his 300th career home run.

June 11, 2008
St. Louis 10, Cincinnati 0
Winning pitcher - Braden Looper (8-5)
HR: Rick Ankiel (10), Jason LaRue (1), Ryan Ludwick (16)

This was Looper's first career complete game shutout (and complete game for that matter). It only took him 98 pitches and he gave the bullpen a night of rest but we can thank the offense for providing that. Looper fanned 4 Reds while Johnny Cueto walked 8 Cardinals in 101 pitches. If you blinked, you missed it. The game lasted 2:16, thanks to a three-hit complete game shut out.

June 12, 2008
St. Louis 2, Cincinnati 6
Losing pitcher - Mark Worrell (0-1)
HR: Troy Glaus (8)

The Cards left Cincy with a 40-28 record on the season.

Cards vs. Astros

The Cards took on the Astros for the fourth time this season...and mainly without Rick Ankiel.

June 6, 2008
St. Louis 1, Houston 6
Losing pitcher - Braden Looper (7-5)

June 7, 2008
St. Louis 8, Houston 4
Winning pitcher - Adam Wainwright (6-3)
HR: Troy Glaus (7), Ryan Ludwick (14)

Wainwright would get placed on the DL after the game.

June 8, 2008
St. Louis 5, Houston 4
Winning pitcher - Kyle Lohse (7-2)
SV - Ryan Franklin (8)

The Cards finish this week's series with a season record of 38-27.

Draft Roundup

Here's a roundup of some of the Cardinals' 2008 draft picks.

One Cardinal draftee, Justin Leith, will not be St. Louis bound. Instead, he has chosen to go the collegiate route.

It is not known yet as to whether Mitch Harris will play for the Cardinals or serve the country.
The righthander just graduated from the United States Naval Academy, and he already been assigned to the USS Ponce.[...]

There is a rule in place called the Alternative Service Option, which permits for some alternate scheduling of required active duty. A pair of West Point grads followed their NFL draft selection earlier this year. But as covered in many articles about Harris as the draft approached, the Secretary of Navy has suspended the Alternative Service Option during war. Academy grads are bound to five years of active duty after graduation.

Harris has the build and the stuff of a much higher pick. It’s the rank that drops him.

Harris is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound righthander who has blossomed in the past couple years with Navy’s baseball team. He reportedly throws a fastball in the mid-90s and he dominated this past season. He had 12 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and an ERA less than 1.90.
The Cardinals did announce the signings of 30 draft picks.
1a. Lance Lynn RHP; 2. Shane Peterson OF; 5. Jermaine Curtis; 6. Eric Fornataro RHP; 7. Anthony Ferrara LHP; 10. Alejandro Castellanos 2B; 11. Devin Shepherd OF; 14. Charles Cutler C; 16. Miguel Flores RHP; 17. Joshua Hester RHP; 20. Luis Mateo SS; 21. Matt Rigoli 1B; 23. Jonny Bravo LHP; 24. Zachary Pitts RHP; 25. Jason Buursma RHP; 26. Christopher Swauger OF; 27. George Brown LHP; 28. Matthew Frevert RHP; 29. Brett Lilley 2B; 32. Samuel Freeman LHP; 33. Kevin Thomas RHP; 34. Jack Cawley C; 36. Chris Notti RHP; 38. Daniel Richardson RHP; 39. Curt Smith 1B; 40. Paul Cruz OF; 42. Blake Murphy C; 43. Joe Babick OF; 44. Santo Maertz RHP; 49. Adam Veres RHP